Every day I get calls from salespeople from all over the world who seek my help. They all have a story to tell. Alas, all too often it’s a story of “woe is me”: the divorce that left them shocked, in emotional and financial disarray; the Great Recession, which decimated their finances, too; the company they’re working for that just doesn’t provide the proper training; the sales manager who doesn’t like them; and on and on I could go with countless examples of all the EXTERNAL sources that are the causes of their problems.

Responsible? or A Powerless Victim?

“Hey, it’s not my fault that…”(fill in the blank).

When you blame an external, it frees you up from being responsible for who you are, for what you’ve become, for your station in life. The trouble is, it makes you out to be a victim, a powerless victim. Is that who you want to be? Really? Think about it: It means you’re surrendering control, power, over your life to an outside source. That’s what dumping responsibility accomplishes. It gets you off the hook (to yourself, anyway; other people are internally rolling their eyes ), but the terrible price you pay for that destroys your ability to take charge of your life.

It’s a form of suicide.

Do You Want Control of Your Future?

If you want to know why successful people are successful, it’s because they take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to them in life—every action, behavior, emotion, and result. No exceptions allowed. Better to have screwed up royal and move on than to claim powerless-victim status. They shudder at the thought. They know that if they want control of the future, they have to be completely responsible for the past.

There’s no “My father was a real bastard, I would have been so much more if it wasn’t for him” allowed. Here’s an exercise for you: make a list of all the external blames (I love creating nouns out of verbs) you’ve used in your life to alibi your way out of taking responsibility. List them all. Be merciless with yourself. If you’ve got your head on straight, you’re going to get mad at yourself.

In Chapter 17 of Selling Fearlessly I said: A master salesperson is 100% responsible for everything that happens to him, every sale or loss. No matter how tempted you are to dump responsibility on some external factor, there is no blaming or alibiing. Don’t do it, you’ll only betray yourself.

It’s your choice of vocation: the call was yours to make; you gave the presentation; if the prospect didn’t buy, it’s because you didn’t close the sale. If you blame your company, your manager, your “lousy presentation,” the weather, the recession, or offer up any of a thousand other lame excuses, you’ll be spouting a lot of nonsense.

The responsibility is always yours.

There are no exceptions to this rule.

Don’t just accept responsibility. Be responsible.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Never allow yourself to blame an external for your woes; never allow yourself to be a powerless victim; go forth and be 100% responsible for you.

About the author

Robert Terson

Robert Terson has been a sales professional and entrepreneur his entire adult life. He…

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